OSHA’s Concerns With Keeping Workers Safe in the Heat

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has concerns when the summer season rolls around, as this is when many health hazards are prevalent in workplaces. In workplaces across the country, many workers struggle with the excessive heat, which causes severe injuries and illness in many cases. Employers are urged to speak with their employees about how they can protect themselves from heat exposure. OSHA is hoping to personally hear from employers about how workers can be kept safe in the workplace this summer season. They are urged to tweet photos to @OSHA_DOL with the hashtags #WaterRestShade #ProTips or email stories to [email protected]. In the future, these photos could be seen in an issue of OSHA QuickTakes.

Preventing Heat Illness

For years, OSHA has been warning employers and employees about the dangers of heat illness and the deadliness it poses to workers. If workers are not drinking enough water or resting in the shade throughout the day, their body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels, making workers suffer from heat exhaustion or stroke. In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered the ill effects of heat illness on the job.

As a result of these injuries and deaths, OSHA has made it a requirement that employers take responsibility to protect their workers from safety hazards. This means that all workers must take steps to protect workers from extremely hot working conditions and establish a heat illness prevention program. This includes providing workers with water and rest, allowing new workers to gradually increase workloads and take more breaks, plan for emergencies, train workers on prevention, and monitor workers for signs of illness.

Many workers are at risk of heat illness depending on the places where they work. The most at-risk workers are those who are exposed to hot and humid conditions and those who are doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing. Some workers also pose a risk, such as those who are temporary or new workers, as they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions. These include workers in trade, transportation, agriculture, and landscaping settings. All employees deserve rights to a safe workplace, and OSHA wants to hear from you to ensure that workers retain these rights.